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Sunday, February 29, 2004

Sorry for the lack of posts, it's crackling line time again. This is the first stable connection I've had for 2 days. And stable is open to interpretation.

Friday, February 27, 2004

I apparently have a similarity to a dangerous criminal!

Yesterday I was sauntering through Ealing Broadway when I noticed a police patrol car was keeping pace with me. I looked at the driver, he looked at me, and on I walked. This went on for about a 100 yards when he finally asked me to wait whilst he pulled over. I called across "O.K." and over he came.

The first thing he mentioned that once I spoke to him he knew I wasn't the person he thought I might be. Apparently there is someone in the Ealing locale who is known to be dangerous but the most recent photo the police have with which to spot him is now 13 years old. They thought I may be him.

What I would say, is that if my appearance is that of this criminal, he might be dangerous, but he obviously isn't very succesful!

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

I now have the new car. I didn't get it until yesterday evening but I am fully mobile once again.

I suppose the biggest change I should notice is the fact that I'm driving a manual car again rather than the automatics which I've had for the last 12 years. But it isn't. The things that's hitting me almost immediately is how much better the fuel consumption is. I'll be able to work it out exactly over the next few days but my rough estimate is that I've doubled it.

There is something ironic about the purchase of this car. The last manual car I drove was the last car I leased when I had my courier business. It was a red, J reg, Peugeot 405GRD. I couldn't keep the leasing going when I started with 3verest so I let it go. And now I pretty much have it back as the new car is a red, J reg, Peugeot 405GRD. I had hoped that the letters would be the same and the numbering of the registration being relatively close but they are very different. Never mind, I still have a feeling that I was meant to have this car, and touch wood, whilst I might not be the luckiest person in many things, I've always seemed to be lucky with my cars.

If I'm not, I'm sure you'll be the first to know.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

There's been a couple of things that have amused me over the last couple of days.

Firstly, a mate had an old video called The Onion Bag, a series of footballing sketches/songs. Amongst it all were a couple of things.

(To be read in your best newsreaders voice)

Hartlepool Borough Council have issued an official apology to Hartlepool United over the loss of their ground.
The council statement reads, "We apologise that during last weeks refuse collections the refuse team covering that area inadvertently removed the entire ground. In their defence they did say that it was next to the bins and did look like a heap of old junk".

Mr James Wheatley of Middlesborough has said he is naming his newly born son after the entire Midlesborough football team. Useless Bunch of Effing Bastards Wheatley weighed 7lbs 5 ozs at birth.

Secondly, on the radio yesterday they were coming up with "Welsh Films". Amongst those I remember were;

  • A Fish Called Rhondda

  • A Towyn Called Alice

  • Dial M For Merthyr

  • A Few Good Menai

  • Good Rhyl Hunting

  • Chitty Chitty Bangor Bangor

  • Anglesey With Dirty Faces

Feel free to add your own.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

If all goes to plan, I'll have the new car on Friday.

Lindas O.C.D. does impinge on our shopping trips for food, usually in the form of making sure all the codes on multiple purchases match or at worst are consecutive and I do get somewhat pissed off about it but one of the cashiers was telling me about another customer.

The woman involved won't put her shopping on the belt until she has cleaned it with an antiseptic wipe. She then insists on scanning the items through the till so the cashier doesn't need to touch it.

Sometimes it does me good to realise that things could be worse no matter how frustrated I get with Linda.

A friend of mine had an intersting day today. He helped police with their inquiries into a murder.

He wasn't the main suspect, luckily, but his mobile phone number was on the alleged murderers phone. He had to go through his life story just about in order to satisfy the police as to what connection he had with the accused.

He says it's not the sort of day he's planning to repeat any time soon.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

I know it isn't the same, but I can't help feeling that the reform of the exam system is sending us down a path seen before.

60 years ago this very summer my Mum left school with her school certificate which had tested her literacy, numeracy and a number of other core skills.

Our education system has been tinkered with or been radically changed by different parties for many, many years and now seems to be going back to where it started. Not having kids, I can't say whether it is any easier or harder than in my day, nor whether it has any more relevance to every day life. It would just be nice if we could decide on something and stick with it and not use education as another political football.

My own views on how education should be run are a mix of both the old-fasioned authoritarian and the modernist radical. Without going into a major rant, and I'm at an age when ranting about the education system is de rigeur, the main points I think should be this.

By 7 children should be able to read and write simple words and structure simple sentences. By 10 they should be literate, both in spelling and grammar and numerate to all four disciplines of maths - addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. As for other subjects it really doesn't matter, whathever keeps them happy, occupied, introduces a range of other "interesting" subjects and reinforces literacy and numeracy. And I'm sorry but yes, the numeracy part does involve learning times tables. Children who are not going to achieve this should not be classed as failures but it should be accepted that they have learning dificulties and they will begin to follow a different regime which can be tailored to the individual need.

Once children reach the traditional age for entering secondary school, their education should then be tailored to subjects which interest them and for which they also show an aptitude. There is no point in forcing a 13 year old boy to spend 2 years learning chemistry when he may be obviously artistic and not scientifically inclined. The point of it all will be to bring them to a fulfillment of their natural abilities which is by far the best gift that education can bestow.

Yes, it's very simplistic, and no there isn't enough detail here to really be supporting the points I want to make, but until they ask me to produce a white paper on education I'll spare you every little detail.

The basis has to be though, that kids are literate and numerate, otherwise all the certificates, o'levels, diplomas or whatever, are worth nothing. And parents have a big role to play, but that's for another rant!

Yesterdays debacle with the car really started last week I suppose when the horrible vibrating knocking sound started. The gear box which has been getting progressively worse seemed to take a sudden nose dive whilst on the M25 and yet something told me it wasn't the gearbox that was causing the car to vibrate to such a degree that things were falling off the rear seats.

Yesterday morning, having suffered a few days of driving in a car that performed much more like a washing machine on a high spin speed when the bearings have come loose, I decided to take it in for the all powerful Kev and Murray, car repairers to the gentry, to cast runes and perform other rituals to diagnose the new ailment.

I described the symptoms. There were intakes of breath, wry grins, knowing looks, and then a final pronouncement that it sounded as though I'd dislocated my doughnut.

Now I admit, my car isn't the tidiest vehicle on the road. I certainly can account for more than one McDonalds chip between the centre console and the drivers seat, and only this very morning I spotted a boiled sweet sheltering from the light underneath my seat, but I'm pretty certain, nay, damned certain, that there are no doughnuts in my car! Anyone who knows me could tell you that any doughnut within 50 paces of me gets eaten pdq. I was just about to point out the error in their summation when they proceeded to tell me, in words pretty much of one syllable, knowing that that is the best way to address me on all things mechanical, of what the heck they were on about.

For those who don't know, the drive shaft meets something up front, probably the axle if I'm not very much mistaken, and somewhere about there is a big rubbery ring thing that keeps it all safe. That apparently is the doughnut. As you can see, I'm pretty clued up now.

The long and the short of it is, the car is buggered. So in the next few days I shall be outing this one, assuming it lasts another few days, and obtaining a new one. Some of you may remember that I have my eye on the The Lexus SC430. Well, I'm afraid that's going to have to wait and I'm pretty certain I'll be the proud owner of a Peugeot 405GRD as previously owned by Kevs dad and being sold at a bargain price.

There's only one problem left. All this talk of doughnuts has made me really hungry!

Monday was another motoring disaster day but I'm too tired to write it up now. You'll get the story tomorrow sometime, and I can tell you it includes the part in which I'm told I've dislocated my doughnut!

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Despite my recent success with a soldering iron, I know my limitations. I was due to change 47 window handles for someone today, but once I'd helped Adam fit some new sealed units I asked him to show me how to change these particular handles. Rather than being screwed on they were riveted. He explained it all and it was begining to sound a bit beyond my basic screwdriver skills so I asked him to show me by doing one of them.

"The most important thing" he mentioned" is not to hit the sealed unit otherwise it will", crack went the sealed unit. I trust Adam to do everything right, but once he made a hash of it, all I could see was potentially 20 or 30 cracked sealed units where I'd gone at it with too much enthusiasm. So, we will be returning on Monday with all the right screws to replace the rivets, a new sealed unit, and him doing the work. I think paying him to do them is going to be cheaper in the long run than the cost of loads of sealed units that I've destroyed.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

A few weeks back I mentioned that the gear box in the car was acting up a bit, earlier today it went, to use the technical term, tits up. It is vaguely driveable so it got me home, but the vibration at speeds of plus 20 is worse than re-entry into earths atmosphere on the shuttle.

Now normally you'd be right in pointing the finger and muttering procrastination under your breath, but the cost of a repair was too great for the value of the car, so I have been running it until this point. Now I shall have to decide what to do. My present finances will run to either a pogo stick or a pair of roller skates. Still, at least it'll save on petrol.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

I have fixed the in-car charger for my laptop. And when I say I have fixed it I mean I have fixed it. And I had to use a soldering iron!

As I said to the bloke in the shop where I bought the iron, I'm not sure I've ever been in a room where one has been plugged in, let alone ever tried to use one. So I had to learn how, if you just touch the solder it disappears. Of course it doesn't, it just looks like it, and then you discover it is still there in the form of a giant blob of molten metal which is as manouverable as....... well, there's nothing else less manouverable than molten metal if you ask me. I also discovered that when you solder something, the piece you were attaching things to, being metal, absorbs the energy in the form of heat, which is still rather hot some minutes later when you grab it in the palm of your hand.

Still, the upshot is, I can now go back to working on the move, and even better, avoiding work by pre-writing my blog entries. Oh, and if you want to earn yourself some money, you can probably get excellent odds from the bookies on how quickly it will break again.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Firstly, a bit of housekeeping, the link to my photoblog below has now been updated.

Today we went to see a supplier in Gloucester. We were going because we wanted to see the product he already has plus one he is developing and how we could market it. We've come away with much more than that. We may change the way we are running the company, part of the way it has been funded, in fact, turning a great deal of what we were intending to do on its head. For the moment I can't say too much more, just because we need to think about things and do a bit of research, but once we have decided on this course, as I think we will, I'll spill the beans.

Just for once, we might be in the right place at the right time.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

I've been neglecting you all, but only because I seem to be working a great deal. Hopefully in the long run it will pay off.

Yesterday was spent going down to Wimborne in Dorset to see a supplier. Although they make the door canopies we are after they also produce garage doors. And one of their customers is the company we buy our doors off of! Next time I get a price from them I shall casually drop in the name of yesterdays contact and wind them up a bit.

I'm not sure I'm going to continue with my other blog. It's not going to do what I want so I think it is for the chop, possibly even by tomorrow. What I have however started is a photoblog known as Kennamatography. Taking photos has always been something I've wanted to get into, but been somewhat hampered by having the artistic vision of a walnut. Many of the posts there will revolve around various Photomemes which will give me some discipline in searching out specific images that I want. I'll see how it goes. When the world of photography comes knocking at my door and pleads with me to stop crucifying it's artform then I'll consider the ending of it. In the meantime, please feel free to visit, but wear protective goggles, you have been warned!

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Where have all the hours in the day gone? I seem to be really busy at the moment, and now, when I thought I might spend some time catching up with my reads I've got to spend some time finding companies who supply roof domes.

I bet you lot are jealous!

Monday, February 02, 2004

I didn't watch this years Superbowl, or at least not much, just a few minutes before bed. I suspect I might have got a bit annoyed with it anyway. One of the things that I hate when waiting for a football match to start on the radio is the delay for the players and officials until the T.V. companies give the signal that they are ready. It always seems to me that that is putting the cart before the horse. However, during last nights match the T.V. companies were able to call up to 16 time outs, 4 per quarter. (The playing sides don't get that many between them). Now, I didn't see it as I say, but it was expected that most of those timeouts would be used if a celebrity was spotted in the crowd so that the tv could take time to focus in on them etc.

It must have seemed a hell of a shame to the companies that some american football match was getting in the way of their television coverage.